Collaborative law is a process which offers separating couples an alternative to litigation. Instead of relying on the Court to determine what is fair, collaborative law offers the couple themselves the opportunity to agree what is right for their children and financially for themselves in collaboration with each other and their own solicitors in a series of four-way meetings.
It has long been recognised that litigation is a last resort because of the uncertain outcome, and the hostility that it can provoke.
In many cases it is this hostility that has the most damaging effect both on couples when trying to recover from their separation and look to the future, and on their children, who need their parents to have a working relationship in the future.
For some, it is possible to sort everything out around the kitchen table. For others who would feel vulnerable in mediation, yet would like to work towards a mutually acceptable agreement, collaborative law may be a viable alternative. It is an exciting and promising process that originated in America in 1982 and is fast taking English family law by storm. There are now approximately 750 Collaboratively trained lawyers working in England (as at May 2007) and the number is fast increasing.
If you and your partner enter into the collaborative law process you will be asked to sign a participation agreement setting out the principles you both agree to follow during the process. This includes agreement that you will:
If you and your partner can commit to this then Collaborative Law may well work for you.
For advice please speak to Family Law Partner and Collaborative Law specialist Beth Woodward